Tech and product support engineers who interface with customers are often hired and trained for their technical proficiency. As customers are offered self-service options, the nature of requests coming into Call Centers are becoming more complex; in order to address this, companies must train agents to help customers with these increasingly complicated issues – but technical proficiency only goes so far.
If the agent is inefficient or ineffective at communicating clearly, customer satisfaction will dwindle. When it comes to delivering a great customer experience, a good agent will possess both technical knowledge and what are called “soft skills.” These are some of the most important skills for technicians to hone so that excellent customer service can be delivered, no matter how technical the conversation.
1. Clear Communication
Translating technical jargon into understandable and relatable phrases is arguably the most important skill for technical and support agents. For those agents working directly with end users, the ability to communicate technical knowledge into plain English is paramount. Coming across as condescending is something to be avoided; specific agent training on tone of their voice and word choices is important for mastering this soft skill.
2. Idea Presentation
Technical agents aren’t limited to communicating only with customers; often, they are required to present their ideas/findings to upper management. Presentation skills dovetail with customer communication skills, but include more than just clear speaking. Planning, organization, and subject familiarity are all essential if successful presentations are to occur.Improvement on this
3. Company Collaboration
It can sometimes be a challenge for technical experts to successfully collaborate with their colleagues; more often, technicians work in isolation and don’t regularly engage with others. Just as excellent communication skills are required for customer service, they are also necessary for working within a team. And, technical agents with the skills to work well in team settings are more likely to enjoy promotions and creative projects along the way, as well as helping the health of the organization overall with their insider perspective of support and the issues customers face.
4. Complete Honesty
Technical agents should be straightforward with customers if the problem is too complex to address over the phone; if there is no quick fix; or if the problem is beyond the technician’s knowledge. Wanting to demonstrate one’s expertise when helping others is understandable, but if promises are given that can’t be satisfied, customers are likely to feel frustrated. Overall, customers are more forgiving if agents are honest and up front.
With self-service options continuing to become the norm, it is expected that Call Centers will be handling more technical calls than ever. Hiring employees with technical expertise is the first step in delivering great customer service, but rounding out these softer skills is vital to a holistic approach of customer care.